Door Strapswith Bill Johnston
Unlike some of the other short wheel based vehicles out there, Suzuki chose not to make the doors on their vehicles easily removable. I am speaking of the more common SJ410, Samurai, and Sidekick models we see on the road today, because I have yet to see some of the older models 'in the flesh'. But since we like to get that 'open air' feeling that removing the doors seems to give us when we are hitting the trails, many enthusiasts have made a small modification to the door hinges that allow the doors to be removed in a matter of seconds. What many folks don't think about, though, are the rubber retaining straps that are meant to keep the doors from opening too far and bending up the sheet metal. These have to be removed before the door comes off or we end up looking silly trying to hold the door up while trying to maneuver the screwdriver...
There are many options used to replace or modify these rubber retaining straps. Different methods are used to work with the variety of components we have added to our vehicles. 'Quick Release' Methods 1. Nylon strapping with plastic buckle These can be bought pre-made or you can take a trip to your local hardware store and pick up the parts to do it yourself. I have found that if you can't find the 2 inch webbing and quick release buckles as separate components, you can pick up a pair of nylon carpenters belts and cut them to fit. They look really good and they are light weight so they won't get in the way. The only drawback I have found is when the wind picks up some speed and grabs the door... the plastic buckles really can't stand the snapping force of mother nature. 2. Locking rings Replacing the plastic buckles (from the example above) with locking rings can strengthen your attachment point. It takes a little getting used to, but it isn't hard to disconnect them. This isn't a 'quick' release as above, but it will hold up in the higher winds.
2. Junkyard Seatbelts The name implies that you get these from a junk yard, but if you don't have one nearby and have the cash you can acquire a new set of generic seatbelts from a local auto parts store. Basically, you replace the rubber straps with the belt and buckle combination. This allows you to have a very strong strap that will not shatter as easily as the plastic buckle mentioned above. The only downside of this may be the buckle getting in the way at you feet. You can fix this by mounting the buckle itself very close to the kick panel so it doesn't bounce around. 3. Quick Release Pins Quick release pins have been around for ages. You see them holding down hoods, holding up convertible tops, etc. No tools required, just pull and go. 4. Wingnut Bolt Replacement Screwdriver? Why use a tool if you can reach in and un-screw the strap with your fingertips? You should be able to find these at your local hardware store. You just need to replace them before taking off down the trail or you may not find them later on.
'Static' Methods 1. External Brackets I have never seen this one in person, but photos I have seen show this to be a real 'grabber'. The mechanism is added to your external hinge and it keeps the door from fully opening, like a door stop you might find in the house. There are no hanging parts to get in the way inside the vehicle, but it sticks out enough (on the outside of the vehicle) to cause me concern. It looks like it would grab bushes, tree branches and anything else that would normally slip past you door otherwise. 2. Wire Cable I have seen this done for a quick, clean installation where space is at a premium. What happens when you install a roll (sport) cage and the leg of the cage is directly in the way of your door strap mount? Time to figure out something new... Wire Cable can fit most any application and there is only a single mounting point at each end (as opposed to the twin screws that hold down the stock strap).